Iowa Legislature

Monday, February 2, 2004

News and Notes from the Hill

It was as if the Capitol had been invaded by an army of White Shirts. It was Community College Day on the Hill and every community college student was wearing a white shirt with a big red check mark stating "We Vote." The students spent the day talking with the legislators and discussing their biggest concern, the education budget. Iowa community colleges play a vital role in the economic development of our state. The legislature is working to fund the community college's efforts to grow Iowa's economy.

The education funding was the hot topic of the coldest week this winter. Educators from around the state converged on the Capitol grounds to show their support for the importance of funding the state's educational program. They weathered the bitterest of temperatures to stand out on the Capitol steps.... 1000 plus strong..... while legislators listened. The legislature will continue to make K-12 education a priority while dividing the budget pie. While the pie is getting harder to divide, K-12 's slice has grown from 38.7% to 43% in recent years.

It is obvious that most Iowa drivers ignore the state's current highway speed limits. Drivers tend to travel at a speed they feel is comfortable and safe. This often sends young drivers the wrong message in that it is okay to exceed the speed limit; it is okay to disobey the law. With such a high percentage of society disobeying the current law, it is time to reconsider the law or discuss enforcement. With that in mind, I offered legislation to change Iowa's speed limit. This legislation (Senate File 2033) would establish the multilane highway speed limit at 70 miles per hour up from the current 65 miles per hour. It would move the speed limit from 55 to 60 miles per hour for state and federal highways. By leaving hard surface secondary roads at 55 miles per hour, perhaps through traffic, particularly trucks will stay on the highways and not on county roads. Efforts at increasing the speed limit have historically met with resistance in the legislature. However, one never knows.

As it has been in the past, the first couple of weeks of the session bring many exhibitors and visitors representing the various organizations and agencies. This past week has been Insurance Day, Independent Telephone Company Day, Mental Health Parity Day and so on. It does provide an opportunity to meet with the constituents. Just this week I had a chance to have lunch with the County Supervisors from Crawford and Buena Vista counties.

The Manning Senior Center will be the location of the Saturday Forum, February 7. Representative Roberts and I will be on hand from 8:30-9:30 and then will travel to the Carroll City Hall to answer your questions.

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